Since May of 2011, federal officials have begun to favor electronic payments over the use of paper checks. In order to cut spending the Treasury Department has made it mandatory for all new recipients of payments from federal benefits programs – including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income disability, Veterans Affairs and government pension plans – to sign up for electronic payments.
According to CNN Money, as of March 1, 2013, all other recipients will be required to do the same. While most payments are now being submitted electronically, there are still a hefty amount of payments being mailed in, charging the agency an added sum of $4.6 million due to the costs of mailing. As a result, the agency is advocating the switch from paper to electronic payments to beat the March 1 deadline. According to Treasury official, Walt Henderson, the use of electronic payments are safer than paper checks, as seen through the 440,000 Social Security checks that were reported lost or stolen in 2011, as well as the $70 million worth of checks that were fraudulently endorsed. Those who fail to make the switch will still receive paper checks; however, they will also be subject to increased communication and mailings by the agency through more direct and personal methods.